Resounding silence from Lake Okanagan Resort after destructive wildfire | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Resounding silence from Lake Okanagan Resort after destructive wildfire

One of the buildings destroyed by fire at Lake Okanagan Resort
Image Credit: Facebook/Lake Okanagan Resort Timeshare Termination Letter 2018

It has been more than a month since the McDougall Creek Wildfire destroyed most of the storied Lake Okanagan Resort.

Since then, hundreds of timeshare owners have heard nothing of their fate in terms of not only their next vacation but what it may cost them in annual maintenance fees going forward.

Nor have the resort owners responded to requests for information from

“I emailed and their inbox was full so my email was sent back,” Austin Drader said in a Facebook message to “I phoned three times and the answering machine was full. On my fourth call there was room to leave a message. I did and have not heard a thing from them.”

Image Credit: Facebook/Lake Okanagan Resort Timeshare Termination Letter 2018

He and others on the Lake Okanagan Resort Timeshare Termination Letter 2018 Facebook group have been frustrated since that time with not only a lack of response from the resort but the ongoing decay of the once luxurious resort.

READ MORE: Lake Okanagan Resort: Rapid decay and glory days

“I tried to contact them before the fire to book for next summer,” Holli Friesz posted. “Voicemail was full. Email was rejected as the server was full. Tried to call, but went to voicemail when transferred.”

The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre has not detailed the damage caused to the resort by the fire on Aug. 17-18, other than to say 150 units were destroyed.

One timeshare owner, who lives in Vernon and did not want her name published, drove to the resort to take pictures.

“As for what is still standing... not much,” she posted. “Two of the permanent homes, one of the newer apartments closer to the lake and the second of the two-storey, sleep-eights. The rest mostly razed to the ground or just a shell.”

Image Credit: Facebook/Lake Okanagan Resort Timeshare Termination Letter 2018

The 2018 letter said that the number of timeshare owners had dropped from 4,517 in 2014 to 2,229 in 2019. Given the age of the facility, annual maintenance fees were expected to double in 2020.

Owners were, therefore, given the option of continuing to pay annual fees, pay $3,350 to terminate their timeshare or to terminate their timeshare on Dec. 31, 2023 and to transfer it to the Lakeside Inn (one of the newer buildings on the site).

READ MORE: Changes happening at Lake Okanagan Resort

In addition to the timeshares, there were a number of condos with at least five different strata corporations. There were also a number of individual homes.

It is unclear what will happen with the strata and time share owners.

A posted copy of one of their contracts says, if the resort is rebuilt, insurance money will go to that. If it’s not rebuilt, the balance of the insurance money will go to the owners but only after the company’s mortgage and all other financial encumbrances are paid first.

Another posting on the page refers to an article called 'What Happens if my Timeshare Resort Suffers Damage?' on the Finn Law Group’s website, which is based out of Florida.

It points out that insurance rarely covers the entire cost of a rebuild and reserve funds may not be sufficient to make up the difference.

“As a result, timeshare owners will often end up paying something more out of pocket in the event of resort damage,” the article says.

Image Credit: Facebook/Lake Okanagan Resort Timeshare Termination Letter 2018

Often timeshare agreements come with the benefit of being able to use vacation weeks in hundreds of other resorts through exchange networks.

RCI, billed as the “leading” exchange network in the world, ended its relationship with Lake Okanagan Resort last year, citing “quality issues.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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